The Internet and social media have changed how people communicate and express themselves. Looking at someone’s social media account offers a window into their world. Social media screening is also changing the hiring process for companies and HR departments worldwide.
Up to 70 percent of companies are now using applicant social media accounts to assist with social media screening of job applicants. That number is up from just 11 percent back in 2006, according to CareerBuilder.com.
Some of the top benefits employers receive from social media screening and looking into applicant social media accounts include:
- Getting to know the person better through their posts.
- Finding supporting evidence that a candidate is qualified and ideal for a position.
- Social media screening for reasons not to hire them (objectionable behavior, incompatible personality for a team, etc.)
LinkedIn is one of the most widely used social media hiring sites and is the largest used in job recruitment. It is an ideal platform for assessing skills, qualifications and past job experience. Employers can also get a sense of a person’s contacts and reputation.
However, the other social media sites used for personal interaction can also allow employers to get a sense of who they might be hiring. It is important to follow certain guidelines while doing this type of social media screening in order to do it legally and get the most out of it.
The following are some of the most important points of social media screening:
Glean Character Insights
Social media posts allow for a look at the applicant’s personality and character. Social media screen for general positive traits as well as characteristics that will make them suited for the job. Anything that indicates they are discriminatory or involved in illegal activities would be red flags.
Social Media Screen Consistently
All applicants should be screened with the same requirements and parameters. Individuals should not be singled out for more stringent social media screening. Every applicant should undergo the same amount of scrutiny. Employers should consider creating a policy that maps out when the social media screening will occur, what will be considered and how much it will be weighed into the final decision.
Abide By The Law
Your state or municipality may have specific social media screening or general employment screening laws for your area. Make sure to be aware of these laws and parameters so that you can stay in compliance. Hiring a professional background screening company can allow you to outsource certain aspects of employment screening to help ensure compliance and legality.
Get the Applicant’s Permission
Make sure you let the applicant know this is part of the screening process and have them sign off on it.
The FCRA, Privacy and Equal Opportunity
Always abide by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA Compliance) in every aspect of employment screening. It is not legal to make hiring decisions based upon race, age, religion and cultural differences.
In addition to seeing social media screening as a screening opportunity, employers should also look at social media as a recruiting tool. Clients and fans of the company just might make ideal employees.
Social media screening can be a potent weapon in your employment screening arsenal. Consider using professional employment screening as well for criminal background checks and credit checks/financial screening when applicable.
Disclaimer Statement: All information presented is never intended as legal advice and is for information purposes only.
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